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1462137 tn?1287192711

Can verbally abusive people change?

I have recently come to realize that my husband is verbally abusive. We have 2 children, so it's not as simple as "just leave him". If we go to counseling and work on our issues, is it possibly for him to change/get rid of his abusive behavior?
He is willing to go to counseling for our problems.
20 Responses
1331083 tn?1285912354
Well that is a great step for him to go to counseling.And if u think it's not easy to leave if he get's worse then it will be hard to leave I left my abusive husband he is dead now he killed himself.When i left him he called my entire family and told them he would kill them so i had to go bk to his beating and verbal abuse it's one of those thing's that could go either way just stay on ur tip toes and be prepared for anything.I hope you guy's can make it work for your family's sake.Men @ a certain age get set in there way's and it can get worse and worse just be carefull and if he ever slap's or ANYTHING like that then u get out rite then or u will be sorry again good luck.
1462137 tn?1287192711
Thank you for responding.
I am sorry to hear about your bad relationship.

He has only hit me a few times. We used to hit each other, so that's not really abuse... just 2 angry people. We have both stopped that and calmed down, but he makes me feel so terrible about myself and makes me believe I'm crazy and it's all my fault we fight. All of our problems are my fault (messy house, financial issues, kids acting up, etc...). When he really wants to hurt me he tells me I'm not a good mom and our kids deserve better. That one he usually takes back, but not the rest.

I know he doesn't want to be this way. He sees that what he says hurts me. This is why he has agreed to counseling (if I can ever get him to go is another story). I just don't want to put all my time and energy into trying to make this work if he is never going to change.
134578 tn?1614729226
If he is willing to go to counseling and he really goes, I'd give him a chance.  Otherwise I'd be outta there.  

Kids who have grown up in abusive households often report that the physical stuff hurt them less than the verbal abuse, and left less lasting scars.  

I think I would give him a deadline for walking into the door at counseling and a second one for seeing some kind of change.
535822 tn?1443976780
Exactly its time to think how this behavior affects the children ,you say he 'only' hit you a 'few times' thats physical abuse not verbal, counselling may help but he has to want to change, if he is in any form of denial it wont work , so try the counselling but keep in mind that for all your sakes leaving may be what you have to do.
13167 tn?1327194124
olam,  I think there's a lot of hope for him if you find a really good therapist.  

I like your willingness to take some responsibility too - stating that most of your physical confrontations were fist fights,  not one way assaults.

Couples counseling is great,  but I also think he may need to consider issues within himself - his atmosphere growing up with his parents that has led him to behave this way,  and possible depression or other health issues.

Best wishes.  I see a lot to hope for here.
13167 tn?1327194124
Hi Olam.  I just went and read through your profile which I usually do before posting to someone.  

There's a lot going on in your life that makes your marriage therapy very very complicated.  With the weights you are carrying,  it might make healthy marriage very very difficult.   Along with your husband getting himself emotionally healthy as I mentioned in the last post,  your marriage success also hinges on you gaining emotional health.

I'm concerned about your weight goal of 97 pounds. Unless you are under 5 feet tall (it's possible) that's not a healthy goal.

Best wishes with your journey.
1462137 tn?1287192711
I am just over 5 feet, so that weight is not low for me. I have always been tiny. I just have some baby weight to get rid of.

I know that my issues make it hard on everyone, and that's why I don't argue when he says I'm screwed up. I remind him I am trying the best I can in therapy to fix that.

I get where his actions come from. I know all about the way he grew up. I don't think he really has any other issues, but who knows what he is holding inside. He very well may. I think he just gets frustrated with my not being "okay" yet. I am recovering from terrible abuse though. It doesn't just happen over night.

1462137 tn?1287192711
A deadline sounds like a wonderful idea. I won't bring it up until after we start counseling, because he would just tell me that I am the one at fault. But I think once we can both admit what we are doing, we can give each other some deadlines. Thank you.
1462137 tn?1287192711
He does want to change when he realizes how much he hurts me. Usually only when he breaks me down to crying or worse. I think if we got into counseling he'd start to see it more. I know it's not just him. I mean we both fight and we both have issues, but I don't berate him and break him down like he does to me. He has said he is willing to go to counseling for our issues, so I think that shows he wants to change (as do I).
535822 tn?1443976780
Yes I also think its worth trying and if he really wants to change then he will do , hitting you is more than verbal so make sure he knows that he cannot go back to those behaviors that also goes for you unless you were defending yourself,  .Good Luck I hope it works out....
Avatar universal
It sounds like you both need to learn some skills about fighting fair. Laying some boundaries and developing a plan of what each needs to do when things start getting out of hand. Maybe someone needs to walk away and calm down, come back and talk more when emotions have calmed down. You have two kids that are sitting back and taking all this in. They are learning how to interact with their future mate from you two. This is very serious business. Hitting should never ever be tolerated, and is a real good way to lose those kids to foster care, so I certainly hope that has stopped. Wanting to change is a good first step, but wanting to and being willing to walk thru the fire in order to do it are two different things. Unless you both want this with all your hearts, it will not work. First thing that needs to happen is you both need to sit down and agree on what you will each do when things start getting out of hand, and do it. Also make a list of what you both will agree to not do to the other or say to the other during these times. For example, ask him to not call you names, put you down, call you crazy etc. And give him the same respect. This will be hard but if you both want it badly enough it can be done.
Avatar universal
Is your husband going to counseling because you want him too?  Is he going because he truly wants to change his ways?  Anyone can change if they really work at it and really want to change, but don't expect it to be overnight, it will take a very long time.  You say it's hard to leave, yes it is financially.  But, if he continues, what will your children be like when they get older?  You have to think of them first and foremost, they cannot help where they live or what they are going through, don't put them through this if he isn't going to change.  
1457281 tn?1286057552
Hi Olam:
I saw the posts and am compelled to answer.  Physical abuse is NEVER okay, for either parent/mate...and once a person physically hits someone; it is usually only a matter of time before it happens again. Eventually it can lead to extreme violence or worse...
Verbal/emotional abuse was one described to me by a Police Officer; (when I got emergency relief through the court for a restraining order years ago; against my exiting husband at the time)...as "worse than physical abuse.. it doesn't leave physical marks, and you don't get any sympathy or support because the marks aren't seen outwardly."   I am sorry to say that often history repeats itself; if that sort of relationship ends.... as we are drawn to the same type; it is "familiar" to us; even though it is bad... and change is painful.  Having children makes it even more difficult. The impact on them right now and in their future could lead to emotionally scarring them and making them abusers. The fact that your mate is offering to get counseling may be a momentary attempt to secure his family; or he may sincerely recognize he has anger management problems. I agree with the earlier comments. Frankly; if he gets counseling; which you definitely need as well..(you both seem to have serious issues;) so many do today... and continues for 6 months; it might be a genuine attempt.  If it is a once or twice, visit and "I don't need it anymore..." BEWARE. It will continue to escalate. These are horrible critical times we live in; and the effects on the family are a sign of the times we live in crumbling all around us. We need all the help and guidance we can get. I wish you that guidance and Help...
Avatar universal
If the  husband is undergoing counseling and admits he was verbally abusive and is truly sorry for the behavior, should the wife give him another chance. If so or not, why?

I was verbally abusive to my wife and truly regret it,,so I am undergoing counseling. Unfortuantely she had experienced the same thing from her father. She has seen many positive changes in me. She will be undergoing counseling for other issues and the verbal abuse and has agreed at some point to marriage counseling. She was open with me and told me actually why she was angry and what I had been doing. Yes, I am ashame and cant believe I hurt the woman I loved. We are living in separate household, I did help move as much as possibl;e to ease her move..

I dont hide the facts from anybody and will tell any abusive spouse how wrong it is.

757137 tn?1347196453
Can verbally abusive people change? No, at least not in my experience. And even if they could manage to control their mouths, their brains would still betray them.
Avatar universal
Yes, they can change. If  counseling and/or medication didnt work, then what would  be the point of anyone going to counseling for this illness and others?

The people have to initate the counseling and be committed, those are the keys.
757137 tn?1347196453
My mother was verbally abusive throughout her very long life. She was a mean person who lost of affection of her five children. She had no real friends. I doubt therapy would have helped her. There were too many layers and she kept them well insulated. That is where her high intelligence worked against her. In any case we stopped caring and fled as far away as we could. That is known as survival.
Avatar universal
reading all these posts i just wanted to write down some of what has happened to me - i didnt see the signs until way too late and now i am paying the price.    my heart goes out to all those struggling with abusive and controlling partners - especially those suffering in silence with the effects of emotional and mental abuse that go un-seen by those around us.

i have been with an abusive narcissistic husband for 21 years and am struggling to leave him.   i nearly made it 2 years ago and escaped to a job many many miles away.   but i came back (he never accepted I'd left him and turned it into part of our life plan) and I was weak and unable to break the bonds.  later i managed to get him to agree to a separation for a few months and he harrassed me with phone calls and texts and scared me when he turned up.  now we have moved to what is termed "my dream home" half way up a mountain.  

he BLAMES me TOTALLY for ALL bad in our relationship - period!  i think this is the biggest indicator that you are with an abusive partner and it should never be ignored because it will turn nasty at some point

this yo-yo dependency thing keeps on happening to me and i am in the slow and painful process of therapy to break out of it.   i made the mistake early on in our relationship of trying therapy to improve myself (largely because of his insults) and I looked around for the reason why i was so abnormal (his word for me).   I am now labelled bi-polar on top of depressed, hormonal, ignorant, angry and anti-social (just a few of the labels he likes to use).  

i dont doubt that i am mildly BP and certainly have some issues.   i tood on board all the labels (because i so wanted to have a wonderful relationship with this man) and believed them.   i set about finding out what i could do about them.  it never works because it is not all about me.  

if anyone is having any doubts about their relationship please dont ignore it.   i felt the vague feelings  "something is not quite right with how this is going"  but i took on the blame and set about mending my ways.   the more i tried to improve the more he found/finds fault.  should be a two way communication.....no one is wholly to blame for everything that goes wrong in a relationship, surely ...... responsibility for ones actions and words etc.  ?    

he never shows true sympathy or empathy.....he never sees my pain and often when i tell him about it he denies it is real.........he does not want to connect with me......wont talk about feelings or emotions........appears hard and scathing in the face of my distress

i have had confidence issues all my life (smothering mother and distant father) and he seemed so self assured and stable.  i was totally taken in by his "charm".   now i look back i see all those little abusive taunts and jokes at my expense were not harmless.  

his abuse has gotten worse and worse over the years - but still the subtle inuendos and demeaning remarks are the worst soul killers.   and its turned to violence.  

i was a single mum and scared.   he took over and used my weaknesses and doubts to his advantage while showering me with gifts (embarrassing me and often these gifts were unwanted) so that i could not be seen as anything else but ungrateful by my family and friends if i protested.  

he charmed/s everyone around him with his unfailing patience and marytdom in my name.  
my family think the sun shines......they bought into his web of deceipt and actually sided with him against me.   fortunately they are beginning to see the cracks in his facade and i have ventured to tell my sister one or two truths....

he gives me a lot of things that money can buy but they all come with conditions... they can all be used against me

behind closed doors he drops his affection for me the minute i stop pleasing him.   if i make a mistake this is ok because it can be used against me there and then and later in arguments or in public (humiliating me).  

If i try to really communicate with him and express concerns over his behaviour towards me or something in our relationship he becomes abusive.   the tone of voice is menacing,  he refuses to address my question, or walks out as i'm speaking, or just insults my intelligence and feelings and says i am a liar, cheat etc., he gas-lights me, he threatens me financially and emotionally if i protest too much.

he threw me up against a door frame 6 months into our relationship because i was shouting at him.   he was sorry and offered to take me to hospital.   i was too shocked to respond other than to be quiet and withdrawn which got the desired result i suppose.   i took the blame for my emotional outburst.  

there have been several more incidents involving slapping, hair pulling, kneeing me in the back, breaking a door down, shoving past me and slaming of doors in my face......i have tried to hurt him back but he is almost twice my weight..... but i make no excuses as domestic violence is unacceptable - period.   i work with a therapist to understand my anger

and here is the thing that really troubles me now.   not only have i become a strange reclusive crazy woman my rage is leaking out of me and i hate myself for it.   so his words are now becoming true - i am mad and angry, uncertain of everything and I let myself and other people down.  a friend likened it to a self forfilling prophecy.  its like he plants the seeds of doubt and i oblige by nuturing them to their full horror and he stands back and says he told me so!  i'm working on taking responsibility for letting myself be this victim figure

right from the start it was always a case of him accepting only the parts of me he liked and the rest i could and should have removed.   so i duly went about pills, potions, therapies etc. to rid myself of these imperfections and "abnormal" personality traits that so annoyed him.   of course i do have issues with depression and hormonal mood swings so there is much to do to be like him!  but whatever i do it is never enough.  

i asked to go to therapy.   he went along and destroyed the rather young and innocent counsellor with his amazing ability to displace and project back her questions.  he was obstuctive, but in a charming way of course, and i was easy to talk too.  i gave to the session while he shut us out.   i was humiliated and seething.   he was mocking and arrogant leading to all sorts of unpleasant rows

10 years later he agreed again to go.   we did a few sessions and he was sickly sweet and calm.   i was raging as the counsellor latched onto my mental health issues (BP in particular) and failed to see any abuse on his part.  very quickly it was about how wonderful he was and how sick i was.   i gave up going and so he not only got the better of me but could even say it was my fault it did not work.    this is the story of how it works - i give up on things.  he makes comments, little insinuations or disapprovals without ever actually saying outright "dont do that".    if i dont comply by dropping what i am doing so that he can then console me and tell everyone i unfortunately gave up again he brings in the blackmail e.g.   do you realise that the amount of time you are spending on that hobby means our time together is suffering........you really need to sort out your priorities etc.  

if any of this sounds familiar to anyone out there please be careful and dont ignore your inner voice....it is your soul and is trying to tell you something very important.   beware the man who says he loves you but needs you to change this and that, who cannot allow you your reality, who undermines or devalues your efforts.

i'm now fighting a battle against myself to break the bonds of co-dependency and get out for good.   i just wish i'd not wasted all these years.

Avatar universal
As a male i must say yes a person can change however it is not easy to do so.  there are some things yuo can do , like anger management classes. is really up to you what you want to do. i would see how this effects the kids. i been married 12 years, and yes i can get mouthy too, but he must relaize that when the kids are there it will effect them emotionally. kids learn from their parents so there is a chance or kids can act the same way.
Hi Olam, I was reading your post and am wondering if there's any update regarding the situation? The last post was in 2011 so I'm not too sure if you use this anymore. Thanks!
Avatar universal
Casa needs to be involved. Also a private investigator can get the evidence you need. I would request to have a representative of the Court there when visitation time is Switched that way there can be a third party to witness the child leaves without bruises goes to Dad's and then comes back with bruises I also live in Illinois and no people who actually do pickups and drop-offs at the police station in the town where they live the point is if there is a third party there who is not connected to you or Dad to see that she is coming back with bruising Etc it can be documented without you getting in trouble or her mother getting in trouble for videotaping and being accused of Parental alienation
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